New Country Campaign Steers Teens Away From Distracted Driving
Before the widespread use of cell phones, a parent's main concern was teenagers driving drunk. Unfortunately, today's teens engage in the more frequent and dangerous behavior of texting while behind the wheel, often with tragic consequences. New Country Motor Car Group Dealerships in Hartford wants to avoid such tragedies during April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, by encouraging teens and their parents to sign the "Contract for Life" to not drive distracted by donating $1 for every signature gathered to the Connecticut state affiliate of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) through the end of May 2014.
"As an automotive company, we want to start teenagers on the road to a lifetime of responsible driving," said Tim Parker, General Manager of New Country BMW-MINI. "Driving takes full concentration, especially for teens just learning how to navigate the road and our goal is to make sure they are safe without any impairment or distractions."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver with 3,328 people actually killed in distraction-affected crashes in 2012. Of these fatalities, 11% under the age of 20 were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Furthermore, for drivers 15-19 years-old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones.
SADD is a peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide. Connecticut has about 75 chapters at middle schools, high schools and colleges across the state.
"We're very grateful to New County Motor Cars for raising awareness about this serious issue and for supporting our organization," said Ryan Morgan, State Coordinator for Connecticut SADD. "SADD is free to all those who want to join, so chapters rely on fundraising, grants, and donations to pay for all of programming. We have found that positive peer pressure and role modeling gives teens the tools to set a healthier, safer course for their lives."